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Experience top-class customer service in your car rental needs when in Santa Barbara. Our staff is dedicated to ensuring a smooth journey as you explore the picturesque landscapes, like the iconic Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Our exceptional customer service provides personal attention to tailor your trip to your unique needs and preferences, making your visit to Santa Barbara a memorable one.

Car Rental in Santa Barbara

Discover the Beauty of Santa Barbara and the California Coast by Car

City car cruising in joyful Santa Barbara surrounding

Welcome to Santa Barbara, one of California's hidden gems. Rich with both natural beauty and cultural history, this city is a perfect destination for travelers seeking a different side of the Golden State. Lush landscapes, Spanish colonial architecture and a vibrant local food scene are parts of what makes Santa Barbara so extraordinary.

In the heart of the city, visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum or the iconic Santa Barbara Mission. With its stunning backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, this historic site is a must-see. If you love wine, don't miss the opportunity to explore the Santa Ynez Valley where some of the best wines in California are produced. A car drive through the picturesque landscapes is a fantastic way to see the region, with its rolling hills and vineyards.

For a more expansive adventure, drive about 120 miles south to Los Angeles or head north to San Francisco, which is roughly 330 miles away. Whether you choose to explore within Santa Barbara or venture outside the city, the scenic routes provide a breathtaking road trip experience. Check out Visit California for more road trip ideas. There's no better way to discover the true beauty of the California coast than by car.

Car Rental in Santa Barbara

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does it cost to rent a car in Santa Barbara?

Rental rates in Santa Barbara can vary significantly depending on the time of year, availability, and type of car. On average, you can rent a car starting from $35 per day during off-peak seasons. Rates may increase during peak tourism periods.

2. Which car model is the most in-demand for rental in Santa Barbara?

Due to Santa Barbara's beach town environment, convertible cars are highly sought after, especially during the summer period. The Ford Mustang Convertible is a popular choice for its combination of enjoyable drive and beach vibe suitability.

3. What are the popular locations to rent a car in Santa Barbara?

The most popular locations to rent cars in Santa Barbara are at Santa Barbara Airport, downtown Santa Barbara, and near popular tourist destinations such as State Street and the Funk Zone.

4. Is there a 24-hour pick-up and drop-off service?

Yes, a number of rental companies offer 24-hour pick-up and drop-off services. It's advisable to check with the provider prior to the booking.

5. Is there a minimum rental period?

Yes, most car rental companies have a minimum rental period of one day. For longer rentals, weekly and monthly rates may also be available.

6. What is the minimum age required to rent a car in Santa Barbara?

The minimum age to rent a car in Santa Barbara is generally 21 years, but some rental companies may charge an additional 'young driver fee' for renters under 25 years of age.

7. What documents do I need to rent or drive a car in Santa Barbara?

Most typically you would require a valid driver's license, a credit card in the driver's name, and proof of insurance. International visitors may also need an International Driving Permit.

8. What is the best time of the year to visit Santa Barbara by car?

Spring and fall are generally the best times to visit Santa Barbara by car when the weather is optimal, and the road conditions are great for scenic drives.

9. What are the main airports in Santa Barbara?

The main airport in Santa Barbara is Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. Los Angeles International Airport, roughly 90 miles southeast, provides another option for travelers.

10. Can I pick up the car in Santa Barbara and drop it off in another city?

Yes, many companies provide this service, often referred to as a 'one-way rental'. However, bear in mind that this may incur a one-way fee.

Car Rental Reviews


Santa Barbara – 23-11-2023. Gotta admit I was wonderfully surprised by the quality and cleanliness of the car rented. Rates are decent, and the staff is very professional. Navigating through Santa Barbara was an absolute pleasure in the car rented from their establishment. Good value for money.


Santa Barbara – 15-09-2023. What a great car rental company in Santa Barbara! The wind in our hair, a great convertible, palm trees, the ocean... Absolutely perfect day. The prices were affordable and the car worked perfectly. It was a nice addition to our trip.


Santa Barbara – 12-07-2023. I'm a regular to Santa Barbara and this car rental company never disappoints. Good service, fair prices, and a convenient location. Made my regular trips to the city, a complete joy. No complaints whatsoever.


Santa Barbara – 04-05-2023. The car performed very well during my stay in Santa Barbara. The booking process was simple and swift. The staff was polite and very understanding. To top it all, the rental price was reasonable. Overall, I'm happy with the service.


Santa Barbara – 08-03-2023. Excellent customer service and quality cars for rent. Rented a car to drive around the scenic Santa Barbara coastline and wasn't disappointed. Prices were competitive and I'm satisfied with the overall experience.


Santa Barbara – 12-01-2023. I had an amazing experience with this car rental agency in Santa Barbara. The car was clean, in good condition and perfect for the trip we planned. It was worth every penny we spent. The whole rental process was smooth. I will definitely use their services again.

Road Connections

Handy Guide for Car Travellers in Santa Barbara

  1. Santa Barbara - Los Angeles: A distance of 153 km, usually a two-hour drive on US-101 S. Be alert for traffic in LA during peak hours.
  2. Santa Barbara - San Francisco: Approximately 541 km and around 6 hours' journey on US-101 N - a scenic route featuring some of the most stunning views in the state.
  3. Santa Barbara - San Diego: Around 334 km, roughly a 3.5 hours' drive via the US-101 S and I-5 S. Most of the roads are well-paved, offering a smooth ride.
  4. Santa Barbara - Sacramento: About 570 km and a 5.5 hours' drive on US-101 N and I-5 N. Be aware of occasional fog.
  5. Santa Barbara - Death Valley: An approximately 595 km and 6 hours' drive on US-101 S and I-5 S. Plan for petrol as there are long stretches without gas stations.
  6. Santa Barbara - Malibu: Roughly 116 km, within a journey time of 1.5 hours via US-101 S. This journey offers seaside views and captivating landscapes.
  7. Santa Barbara - Santa Maria: A distance of only 105 km and an average drive time of 1 hour on US-101 N. It's a light trip with minimal traffic.

Driving Guide

Santa Barbara & USA

1. What is the speed limit in Santa Barbara?

The speed limit in Santa Barbara varies depending on the area. Residential zones typically have a speed limit of 25 mph, while on highways and interstates, it can go up to 70 mph. Always obey the posted signs.

2. Do I need my own driver's license to drive in Santa Barbara?

Yes, you need a valid driver's license to operate a car in Santa Barbara. International tourists can drive with their home country's driver's license. However, in some states, an International Driving Permit is required.

3. Are there speed cameras in Santa Barbara roads?

Speed cameras and red-light cameras operate in many parts of California, including Santa Barbara, as a part of traffic enforcement strategies. Penalties for violations caught on cameras can be severe.

4. What is the process for paying tolls?

In California, most toll roads use electronic, cashless tolling systems. You may need to set up a prepaid account or pay the toll online within a certain timeframe after using the roads.

5. What are the unique driving rules in Santa Barbara?

Some unique driving rules include the 'Move Over' law, which requires drivers to move over a lane or slow down when approaching any stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights. U-turns are generally permitted unless otherwise marked.

6. How heavy is the traffic in Santa Barbara?

Traffic in Santa Barbara can become congested during peak hours, especially on major highways. However, compared to larger cities in California like Los Angeles, it is generally not too heavy.

7. Are there any rules about driving safety in Santa Barbara?

Driving safety in Santa Barbara follows the same general rules as the rest of the US. Always wear your seatbelt, obey all traffic rules and signs, and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

8. What side of the road do they drive on in Santa Barbara?

In Santa Barbara, and the rest of the USA, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road.

9. What types of roads can I expect in Santa Barbara?

In Santa Barbara you will encounter a variety of roads, from multi-lane interstates and highways to smaller city streets and rural roads.

10. What times are peak traffic times?

Typically, the busiest traffic times coincide with commuting hours, which are roughly from 7-9am and 4-6pm.

11. Are rest areas common on highways?

Yes, rest areas are common on California highways, offering facilities like restrooms, picnic areas, and sometimes tourist information.

12. Are parking rules strictly enforced?

Yes, parking rules in Santa Barbara are strictly enforced. Violations could result in hefty fines or your car being towed.

13. Are there carpool lanes in Santa Barbara?

Yes, there are High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on many freeways in Santa Barbara and California for vehicles with a specified minimum number of passengers.

14. What distances are usually used on road signs?

Road signs in Santa Barbara and all over the USA use miles and feet instead of kilometers and meters.

15. Are roundabouts common in Santa Barbara?

While roundabouts are less common in the USA than in many other countries, you may still encounter them in Santa Barbara, especially in residential and downtown areas.

Santa Barbara Highlights

Top Attractions to Visit with a Car

  1. Santa Barbara County Courthouse: An impressive Spanish-Moorish design building with a panoramic city view at the clock tower.
  2. Old Mission Santa Barbara: Historical mission founded in 1786, famous for its beautiful gardens and architecture.
  3. Stearns Wharf: Enjoy shopping, dining and stunning ocean views on Santa Barbara's bustling pier.
  4. Solvang: A charming Danish town, within a short drive from Santa Barbara, known for its authentic architecture and bakeries.
  5. El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park: Historical Spanish military installation and museum.
  6. Santa Barbara Zoo: Perfect for families, this small zoo houses more than 600 animals.
  7. Lotusland: Beautiful garden showcasing a diverse assortment of plants from around the world.
  8. Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park: Ancient rock art sight, located within a short drive from the city center.

Santa Barbara Road Trips

Embark on an Adventure

  1. Pacific Coast Highway: This iconic driving route that spans 882 kilometers from San Francisco to San Diego, encompasses Santa Barbara. Enjoy the dramatic coastal views, vineyards, pristine beaches, and charming towns along this extraordinary road trip.
  2. Santa Barbara to Los Angeles: The 160 kilometers route from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles will take you through Ventura, Camarillo and Malibu, boasting scenic beaches, historical attractions, and gourmet dining options.
  3. Santa Barbara to Death Valley: Covering approximately 579 kilometers, this road trip combines the serene coastal vibes with the spellbinding desert landscapes of Death Valley National Park.
  4. Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country: A mere 50 kilometers from Santa Barbara, the Santa Ynez Valley offers over a hundred wineries scattered along a scenic drive.
  5. Santa Barbara to Sequoia National Park: Journey approximately 453 kilometers towards the Sierra Nevada to explore the world's largest trees at the Sequoia National Park.
  6. Santa Barbara to Joshua Tree: Drive 327 kilometers through desert towns and into the magical wilderness of the Joshua Tree National Park.
  7. Santa Barbara to Big Sur: The 330 kilometers route offers breathtaking ocean views, rocky cliffs, lush hills and the iconic Bixby Bridge.